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Buttigieg pledges 'new era' for U.S. Latinos in push for minority voters

by Reuters
Monday, 16 December 2019 11:00 GMT

DETROIT, Dec 16 (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg pledged on Monday to end the Trump administration's "discriminatory policies" toward Latinos, as the South Bend, Indiana, mayor looks for ways to boost his appeal among minority voters.

Buttigieg, whose campaign has tried to overcome accusations of systemic racism in his city, has in recent months unveiled a series of economic, criminal justice and education plans to win support from what the candidate views as under-served communities.

Calling for "a new era for Latinos," the Buttigieg plan would create "a path to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented people living in the United States." It also aims to reduce discrimination in business lending and expand protections for farm and domestic workers.

"As President, I will put an end to this administration's discriminatory policies and work to dismantle the institutional barriers that have kept Latinos from feeling like they fully belong in their country," Buttigieg said in a statement.

His plan pledges $10 billion in federal funds to support entrepreneurs from under-served communities, including Latino business owners, and would look to increase federal contracting dollars going to small business owners from those groups to 25% from 10%.

It also reiterated Buttigieg's goal of reducing by 50% the number of people incarcerated in the United States, saying Latinos were more than three times as likely to be incarcerated as non-Latino whites.

Among Hispanics who identify as Democrat or independent, 3% support Buttigieg over other candidates for the Democratic 2020 nomination, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling from Nov. 1 to Dec. 5. Another 27% support Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 15% support former Vice President Joe Biden and 7% support Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Those candidates are among a large field seeking the Democratic nomination to take on President Donald Trump in the November 2020 presidential election. Many have made similar pledges that contrast with a central focus of Trump's presidency and re-election campaign: tough immigration enforcement.

The president's signature campaign promise is to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He also tweeted in June that immigration authorities would begin to deport "millions of illegal aliens" without legal status.

(Reporting by Michael Martina and Chris Kahn; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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